Lost in Time: An Interview with Superisk

Son Raw speaks with Superisk about his new record, Lost in Time.
By    February 11, 2016


Superisk couldn’t have picked a better album title than Lost in Time. Give it a listen and you’ll find it avoids both classicism and current trends, instead existing between the futurism of this decade’s bass music and the rooted sureness of underground hip-hop. Touching on the struggle of contemporary existence and imbued with a sense of spirituality, it’s Bristol through and through, taking in urban culture and transmuting it through the scene’s own idiosyncratic approach. Not quite grime, not quite dubstep, not quite hip-hop or R&B, but with plenty to offer to open-minded fans of those genres.

When I took a trip to Bristol last spring, everyone I spoke to had the name “Risky” on the tip of their tongue and when I found out he was returning to music after a multi-year absence, I jumped at the chance to speak with him. We’re debuting Lost in Time today, along with a chat about his past and how the album came together. —Son Raw

Before we dive into the new record, how did you start off in music? For a lot of listeners, we might know the Punch Drunk release but practically everyone I spoke to in Bristol kept mentioned your name and you’ve been a big part of what goes on out there for a while.

Superisk: I started out writing Hip-Hop on an MPC when I was 14, began DJ’ing in Cardiff at around 16, had a brief fling with D’n’B, moved to Bristol and then finally found Grime and Dubstep around 2004/2005.

Are you from Cardiff originally?

Superisk: I’m originally from the depths of South Wales but Cardiff was the nearest city. Hip-Hop was by far the biggest underground music scene at the time. Garage and D’n’B were there but mostly in the periphery.

In 2006/2007 I linked up with the Sureskank crew. In 2008 I was lucky enough to do a tour of Canada and America, and then in 2009 I started running the iconic Tube nightclub owned by Massive Attack and home to the Sureskank and HENCH nights, so most people know me from either DJ’ing around Bristol or getting them drunk.

 Just for reference, who was in Sureskank back then? Those parties get referenced a lot today, but again, there’s a bit of mystique for those of us outside of Bristol.

Superisk: Sureskank was Batman (now Colouryum), myself, Kahn, Neek, Gemmy, Beavis (Roots Radical Soundsystem) & B-Lam (now El-Kid). Boofy & High5Ghost were in the crowd during the early days and then joined us later on.

It’s a bit of a bait question, but what have you been up to since then?

Superisk: I started playing Football again and generally looking after my health, moved to London with my girlfriend and put a lot of energy into my career in IT to avoid being skint for the rest of my life [laughs]. I’ve been writing music the entire time but I was ready to leave the ‘scene’. I got to the point of just wanting to be creative and lost interest in clubs and that environment.

Deciding to come back with a full LP is a big move. How’d the project come together at the start?

Superisk: It started as a side project with Anthony Mackie (Skillzee) during the making of Space Travel, so some of the older tracks were written in 2009! It was scrapped about three times over the years until I found the time to finish it in London. To me it sounds dated, especially in terms of how much my sound has developed, but I had to close that chapter before I could concentrate on anything else.

That album, Space Travel [by Central Spillz], was a huge part of Durkle Disco history. Just going back for a secod, how did that come about?

Superisk: I joined Spillz and moved into Koast’s house at a time when most of Spillz lived on the same block in St. Pauls. Redskin lived right behind our house and I remember us having to throw onions at his window to wake him up for a gig. Everyone was always about it and would pass through the studio so it was a really organic album. Nothing was planned and it just kind of wrote itself. Although Koast might remember it without the rose tinted glasses.

Lost in Time, in terms of vibe, brings me back to underground hip-hop (and the stuff that PROUDLY identifies as underground hi-phop) more than anything. Can you speak on that?

Superisk: Yeah I agree. Growing up I was heavily influenced by producers like Stoupe, Large Professor, Necro, RZA, Premo, Ill Bill, Farma G, etc., and I think that style has stuck with me in one way or another. The contrast between dark/heavy beats and sweet/hypnotic melodies can bring out so much raw emotion in a track. I tried writing Dubstep but it would always have a Hip-Hop feel. I found peace in not trying to write to a specific style or formula and just sitting down and running with whatever materialized.

And that kind of spreads to the rhyme style. There’s a definite grime influence in terms of tempo, but stylistically, there’s as much hip-hop, or more—at least to my ears.

Superisk: Yeah for sure. I’d say that every vocalist on the album either writes or used to write Hip-Hop. UK Hip-Hop has always been more of a natural fit for Bristol vocalists. It’s only recently with the younger generation of MCs coming through that more of a Grime sound is growing in Bristol.

That kind of comes together on “My Life Pt. 1/Pt. 2.” The Rawkus classic you nod to brought together Monch and Styles P at a time those sides of hip-hop were really divided. You kind of do that with grime and UK Hip-Hop here. How’d that song come together?

Superisk: It’s really just a homage to the anthemic nature of the original. It’s one of those tracks that we all remember from our teens and I stumbled across the original Aretha Franklin tune and had to 140 it.

Listening to the record, I’ve been trying to unpack the cosmic/spiritual component to the samples and bars. There’s a lot about the continuity of life, and also the struggle (more so in terms of the rhymes). How long have you been on that path? It’s a flex I associate with a lot of acts out here in Canada but it isn’t always at the forefront of UK urban culture.

Superisk: Growing up I was heavily into themed Hip-Hop albums like 36 Chambers, Violent By Design, Council Estate of Mind, Anarchy, Deltron 3030, The Future Is Now, etc. I love how you can get immersed in the story and you don’t want to skip any tracks or listen to them on shuffle. For me, that’s what makes a body of music an album rather than a mixtape or a collection of tracks.


With regards to the cosmic/spiritual aspect, for the last decade I’ve been fascinated by the possibility of reincarnation and alternate dimensions. Spending time in Vancouver played a part too. Ram Dass, Graham Hancock, Terence McKenna, Duncan Trussell, Sam Harris, etc. are all big influences, so I guess it was naturally the story I wanted to tell.

How much time did you spend out in Vancouver?

Superisk: My first visit was for five weeks and it was the only place on the entire tour that I’d arranged to go to without pre-planning any gigs or arranging to meet up with anyone. At the time, as far as I was concerned, there wasn’t even a Dubstep scene there.


I posted on Dubstep forum the day I landed and Patrik Cure (Greazus) got in touch and took me in before introducing me to the entire Lighta! family. Vancouver will always be like a second home to me thanks to those people. I’ve been back a few times since and I’m definitely due a trip out there.

Musically, the record stays true to what people called the “Purple” sound but updates it. How were you involved in that back in the day? People mention Joker/Guido/Gemmy on account of the records but you were there early on.

Superisk: They’re all friends of mine and I’m definitely a Purple fanboy! I met Gemmy in college, Guido through a mutual friend, and Joker when he was still in his teens, but I couldn’t put my music in that category. The Purple sound predominantly makes you dance and is built for a sound system. I think my sound is more introspective and geared for home listening. If I was to draw a comparison at all, it would be the 90s computer game influence that we all share. There are so many computer game samples on this album I should probably make a record of them all.

Without spoiling the record, what do you want the listeners to get out of it?

Superisk: I just want people to enjoy the story and take something away from it.

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